Circadian rhythms, exercise, and cardiovascular health

Academic Article


  • Human circadian rhythmicity is driven by a circadian clock comprised of two distinct components: the central clock, located in the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) within the hypothalamus, and the peripheral clocks, located in almost all tissues and organ systems in the body. Entrainment, or alignment, of circadian rhythmicity is dependent upon time of day and can occur through environmental influences such as light cues and physical activity exerted on skeletal muscle. Entrainment of the circadian clock through exercise has been reported to improve health by reducing risk of conditions such as cardiovascular disease (CVD), but further research is still needed. The purpose of this review is to discuss the effects exercise has on the regulation of circadian rhythmicity, specifically with respect to CVD risk factors - including hormonal levels, sleep/wake cycles, blood pressure, and heart rate. Additionally, the impact of exercise-induced circadian entrainment is discussed relative to hormone regulation, nocturnal blood pressure dipping, post-exercise hypotension, and overall cardiovascular health.
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    Author List

  • Hower IM; Harper SA; Buford TW
  • Volume

  • 16